Developing a Customer Journey

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Winding country dirt road

As a small business, you know that customer service and relationships are what makes you better than your competitors. While small businesses may not always be able to compete on price, their depth of knowledge and personalized service make them preferable for select clients. Your website can be a tool in developing your interactions with your prospects and customer if you strategize correctly.

What is a Customer Journey?

There are several ways to conceive of a customer journey. Some companies create a marketing/sales funnel that they use to nurture leads and turn them into loyal customers. Other companies have a truncated funnel because their products or services are less costly or complex. The funnel can be part of a customer journey, but the journey can also consist of any contact or interaction you have with a customer, in-person or online.

Why Bother with a Journey?

Well, you don’t have to create a journey for customers. But, if you want to develop customers who will come back and refer others, a journey will boost your efforts. The journey is enjoyable for both sides and will cement customer relations and trust. The ultimate goal is creating an enduring relationship that is beneficial for both you and your customer that result in mutual business growth.

Developing the Journey

Before you get started, you need to know who your favorite customers are and why you like them. Make a list of five to ten of your best customers, and then interview them to find out what they gain from doing business with you.

What is the Goal of the Journey?

If the journey’s goal is getting to know your customer better including their needs for your product or services, you need to set up pages on your site to gradually learn more about them. However, the second goal should be to educate them about your company and how you can help them with their needs. For that, you need educational pages on your site to answer their questions.

Setting Up the System

There are a few ways you can set up this process depending on preferred methods of communication and effectiveness.

  • Automated emails can invite your customers to move through the pages on your website in exchange for learning more about them
  • A series of phone calls and face-to-face meetings can be integrated or used instead of the emails.
  • SMS has become a popular way of sending quick messages to customers
  • Social media can drive customers to landing pages to integrate them into your system

Website Content

Website content is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Each step along the journey should provide valuable information to your customer and to your company. It is an exchange, details about your customer for new content.

Whether the content is delivered on your website as written content read online, content to download from a landing page, or video and audio content. The value of the content to the user is what’s most important. As you get to know the customer, you can provide them with customized content for their purposes. Each customer will have different needs.

Hire a professional writer to write the content (or videographer to shoot it, etc.). The quality of your content will be in proportion to the professionalism and experience of the creator. From your customer surveys, you can offer a persona for the writer to focus on. Writers write to a specific audience and tailor their content for the audience. You can imagine that teaching a 5-year-old and teaching teenagers about the solar eclipse would require different content.

Correcting for Effectiveness

Once you establish the pathway and set up the content and delivery system, you should test it with a small group. Then you can work out kinks and improve the success rate before putting it to work. Ask current customers to go through the process to test it out. They may come up with details you have missed. You can also set up A/B testing to make your journey more effective. You will gain analytics from you campaign and then adjust it for better results. We often hear that the journey itself is the goal, but for businesses the customer journey should have an end goal. Your company can extend the journey as more customers start along the path.

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